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Hundreds of Thousands Sign Petition to Impeach Trump for Violating Constitution over Biz Interests

StoryJanuary 27, 2017
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Donald Trump’s presidency is less than a week old, but some attorneys say a case for impeachment can already be made. We speak to John Bonifaz, who says Trump has violated a part of the U.S. Constitution that bars Trump from receiving payments from foreign governments. The effort is being led by Free Speech for People and RootsAction.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to John Bonifaz, who’s an attorney and political activist specializing in constitutional law and voting rights, co-founder and president of Free Speech for People, one of the organizations that launched the "Impeach Donald Trump Now" campaign just moments after Trump’s inauguration. More than 200,000 people from across the country have already joined the campaign.

John, talk about what you are calling for right now.

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, we think that there must be an impeachment investigation initiated in the United States Congress based on the violations of the emoluments clauses, the foreign emoluments clause and the domestic emoluments clause, both of which make clear that the president of the United States cannot engage in the kind of corruption that we’re seeing now of the Oval Office. This kind of corruption is massive, and it’s far worse than even Watergate. And Nixon White House counsel John Dean has said that.

The presidency is not a profit-making enterprise for its occupant. It is a public office, and the president is a public servant. And the president, this president, does not seem to understand that concept. He is engaged in businesses all over the world. He has refused to divest from his businesses. And as a result, he has serious conflicts of interest, from all the foreign payments he’s receiving from foreign governments and from the domestic payments, from state governments and from the federal government, that collide directly with the Constitution. He swore an oath of office to protect and uphold the Constitution. He’s already violating it. And this impeachment investigation must proceed.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s interesting, John. In 2014, Donald Trump talked about the prospects for impeaching Obama, tweeting, quote, "Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?" Your response?

JOHN BONIFAZ: Well, maybe he was projecting on what might happen if he became president. But look, this is a president who does not obey the Constitution. He defies the rule of law. No one in this country is above the rule of law, no matter how powerful he or she may be, and that includes the president of the United States. That is a bedrock principle of our democracy. And that’s why we launched with RootsAction the campaign at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org. And we already have, as you mentioned, 200,000 people around the country join this campaign. I think it’s only a matter of time before a member of Congress introduces our proposed resolution—it’s on our site—starting an impeachment investigation. But we have to hold this president accountable.

AMY GOODMAN: How many signatures do you have right now?

JOHN BONIFAZ: I’m sorry?

AMY GOODMAN: How many signatures do you have right now?

JOHN BONIFAZ: Nearly a quarter of a million, and counting, at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org. And, you know, the point on this is that when a president engages—

AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s interesting that—I just want to say, it’s interesting a WhiteHouse.gov petition demanding that President Trump release his personal income tax returns broke the website’s record for signatures at 380,000. But five seconds, John.

JOHN BONIFAZ: I think people need to join this campaign from all over the country to uphold our Constitution and the rule of law at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org. It’s time we demand accountability and impeach this president.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank John Bonifaz, director of Free Speech for People; Dale Ho of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project; and professor Brian Schaffner of University of Massachusetts Amherst.

That does it for our show. I’ll be speaking here in Park City, Utah, at the Park City Museum, 528 Main Street, next to Dolly’s Bookstore here in Park City at 1:00 today. People can check our website.

Many thanks to our local crew here at Park City Television: Stanton Jones, Kevin Rapf, Keefe Pulley, Bennett Duchin, Linda Hodge and Yurivia Barrios.

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